HYANNIS – Hyannis resident John Julius has been vocal for years that the Hyannis Fire District and other fire districts in the Town of Barnstable are not complying with Proposition 2 1/2 laws. Today the issue is in US District Court.
Proposition 2 1/2 holds municipalities to a two and a half percent increase in taxes unless they receive a favorable vote. The law was passed in 1980 for property tax protection.
But the fire district claims it is not beholden to Proposition 2 1/2 because it is a district and not a municipality.
Julius says the law is supposed to apply to everyone. “Our question is, how can the Hyannis Fire District claim to be exempt from a law that is supposed to apply for everyone in the entire commonwealth,” he said.
Because of his belief in the Proposition 2 1/2 tax issue, Julius filed an injunction to stop a recent vote to approve funding for a new fire station. The court ruled against the injunction to stop the vote.
While a majority of voters cast their ballots in favor of $17 million in additional funds for the new fire station, a two-thirds majority was not reached and therefore the request for funds did not pass.
The case will be heard by Judge Dennis Casper at the US District Court in Boston. Julius and his wife are representing themselves before the judge.
Julius said the attorneys representing the fire district are asking that the case be dismissed for what they say is a failure to state the claim for relief.
“What we hope to accomplish is simply to have the judge understand that this particular case is all about the constitutionality of the Proposition 2 1/2 law.
If the judge rules against his case, Julius said, he will take that as a violation of his constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, the equal protection clause.